ABC news conducted a town hall meeting on Thursday December 20 at the Ohio Union on the Campus of Ohio State University following the massacre of 20 children and six adults in Newton, CN. OFCC was represented by general counsel Derek DeBrosse on the “panel of experts” assembled by ABC to discuss the aftermath of the shooting. Also on the panel were attorney Ken Hansen of Buckeye Firearms, Michelle Martin of the National Alliance of Mental Illness Franklin County, Toby Hoover of the Ohio Coalition of Gun Violence and Brian Rothenberg of Progress Ohio. The program, before a live audience that filled over half of the auditorium, was viewed by webcast and also viewed on live TV in about 25 markets throughout the US. It was originally scheduled for 60 minutes but was extended by about 35 minutes due to the overwhelming interest. There were no opening statements from the panelists; the program went directly to questions from the moderator, from the auditorium audience and from Facebook submissions.
Early in the questions OFCC’s Director Gary Witt made the statement that if the individual who breached the security system at Sandy Hook had been met with armed resistance we wouldn’t be here (met with a round of applause from the audience) and followed that with the question of when we’re going to give teachers the ability to protect our most precious assets, our children. Throughout the evening various responses to that question were given ranging from NO to qualifications for teachers/administrators.
Three main themes developed during the meeting. Guns, mental illness and school security. The moderator noted that President Obama cut resource officer funding out of the budget two years ago. There was a question of how much influence Xbox games has on the environment.
Late in the program the moderator gave three choices to the question of what could be done. The choices were more more gun control, more funding for mental illness, more funding for school security. The audience was split on more funding for mental illness or more funding for school security. Only the two anti-gun panelists, Toby Hoover and Brian Rothenberg, applauded for more gun control.
To read the Facebook comments on the town hall meeting, go to http://www.abc6onyourside.com/shared/news/features/town-hall/ and to view the video, go to the same site, scroll down the page to Town Hall Videos (Click to Play). The video is in eight sections starting with SOLUTIONS: Town Hall Meeting Part 1 and continuing to SOLUTIONS: Town Hall Meeting Part 8.